Fruit fanatics ventured out to Historic Glendale's Murphy Park to celebrate the revival of the Arizona Watermelon Festival on Saturday. They enjoyed watermelon, of course, but also water games, watermelon slices, and a pageant to name the Arizona Watermelon Queen.
It wasn't hard to find the watermelon. And while we don't have anything to compare this year's quantity to, we're pretty sure the number of melons would have done the original festival organizers proud.
Gigantic cardboard boxes in the center of the festival revealed hundreds of bright green melons. Those looking to get a taste of the fruit rather than a whole melon could also purchase watermelon by the slice at one of a number of Arizona Watermelon Festival tents set up throughout the festival area.
Some attendees sat in the shade and enjoyed live entertainment and eats from food trucks including The Grilled Cheese Truck and White Eyes Fresh Fry Bread. We caught the performance from Unstoppable on the main stage and despite the heat, some festival-goers got up and danced along to the upbeat music. Following the set guests watched the coronation of the 2013 Wmaterelon Queens.
In the Water Activities zone, young children cooled in water play areas. For a hot second we wished we could hop in, too. Other kid-focused activities included pony rides and a dunk tank, where a line of kids took turns trying their luck both throwing the ball and sitting in the
hot cool seat.
In the culinary area crowds gathered to watch Chef Ray Duey perform melon magic, carving intricate designs out of fruit. The American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef crafted delicate roses, green and pink flowers and other designs.
To escape the sun -- if only momentarily -- we strolled through the Farmer's Market area where families browsed through Arizona-grown produce, including a selection of (you guessed it) watermelon and cantaloupe. Other seasonal produce was also available including cucumbers and spaghetti squash. We were particularly intrigued by the watermelon pickles, but went with a homemade doggie treat as our Melon Fest souvenir -- though it was also hard to pass up the cutesy Watermelon Festival shirts.
The event seemed to be a hit with those who braved the 100 degree-plus temperatures to bring a piece of Glendale history back to life. For those who don't venture out to this side of the Valley on a regular basis, it's also a great excuse to explore the dozens of adorable vintage shops that line the street of Glendale's historic district.
And next year if we make it back we'll be sure to bring a bottle of water ... and maybe even our friend's kids so we can get in on the water play action, too.